Energy is consumed at every stage of the cycle of water supply, treatment, use and disposal. The intensity of energy consumption (kW h/m 3) depends upon the specific technologies applied at each stage of the water cycle. For some technologies, the intensity may be relatively low, whereas the intensity of other technologies is substantially greater. This report surveys the available literature on energy intensity for water use in the municipal and agricultural sectors and separates the process into several stages. Water supply, water treatment, residential end use, wastewater treatment, and agriculture end use are considered. Representative values of the energy consumed per unit water are given for a broad range of processes. Water extraction and pumping from ground and surface sources is considered. The energy intensity of treatment required for different types of water source is found to vary widely between the extremes of relatively fresh surface waters, which use energy mainly in pumping, and seawater, which requires desalination. Energy usage for different methods of irrigation including pressurized as well as surface irrigation is studied. The energy intensity of residential end use is very high relative to other parts of the water supply cycle. Processes such as heating water, washing clothes and dishes, and cooking are briefly studied within the water end-use stage. Hot water usage is responsible for making end use the most energy intensive stage of the water cycle. Hot water use in different buildings is briefly reviewed. Wastewater treated with various processes is considered, and the energy intensity is found to be highest when advanced wastewater treatment methods are applied. Energy consumption in the agricultural sector, which is principally related to irrigation pumping, is generally of lower energy intensity than for the municipal treatment or end use. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.